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The 15 Largest Hand Sizes in NBA History

I love writing about sports, particularly about NBA players.

A cement impression of Michael Jordan's hands allows you to test your hand size against those of this basketball legend.

A cement impression of Michael Jordan's hands allows you to test your hand size against those of this basketball legend.

Having big hands can be a nice advantage in basketball. It gives you the ability to easily palm the ball which, though not critical, can be very helpful. This can affect passing, shooting, and ball handling. Basketball is all about ball control. You can imagine how much easier it would be to play if the ball felt like a softball in your hands. You would have so much control.

Some NBA greats like Michael Jordan and Julius Erving benefited from having huge hands. Obviously, it wasn’t the only reason these players were great, but it was a huge advantage and probably why they were able to finish so well at the rim.

Kobe Bryant recognized this advantage. When asked what he wished he could change about his game, his answer was his hands. He revealed he wished he had massive hands like Michael Jordan. When Phil Jackson was asked who would win in a game of one-on-one between Jordan and Bryant, the Zen Master went with MJ. His main reason for picking MJ was simply because of the hand size advantage he enjoys over Kobe.

This article will take a look at some NBA players both past and present with the most impressive hand sizes. Both the hand length and span of the players will be considered. Reasonable estimates will also be made on the sizes of players that have not been officially measured. It's usually obvious who has the biggest hands though. They're the ones who can wave the ball around like a grapefruit and don't need their off hand to secure the ball.

15 NBA Players With the Biggest Hands (Length/Span)

  1. Boban Marjanovic: Estimated to be 10.75/12 inches
  2. Shaquille O'Neal: Estimated to be 10.25/12 inches
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo: 9.85/12 inches
  4. Gregory Smith: 9.8/12 inches
  5. Connie Hawkins: 10.5/11 inches
  6. Noah Vonleh: 9.75/11.75 inches
  7. Julius Erving: Estimated to be 9.5/11.75 inches
  8. Michael Jordan: 9.75/11.375 inches
  9. Kawhi Leonard: 9.75/11.25 inches
  10. Wilt Chamberlain: 9.5/11.5 inches
  11. Royce White: 9.5/11.5 inches
  12. Wayne Embry: Estimated to be 9.25/11.75 inches
  13. Elgin Baylor: Estimated to be 9.75/11 inches.
  14. Jahlil Okafor: Estimated to be 9.5/11.25 inches
  15. Rajon Rondo: 9.5/10 inches
Hand length is measured from the base of the palm to the tip of the middle finger.

Hand length is measured from the base of the palm to the tip of the middle finger.

Hand span is measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky finger with your hand outstretched.

Hand span is measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky finger with your hand outstretched.

How Is Hand Size Measured in the NBA?

The NBA has measured the length and span of prospective rookie hands since the 2010 Combine. Hand size measurement consists of two parts; hand length and hand span.

Hand length is measured from the base of the palm to the tip of the middle finger. Very few NBA players have hand lengths of 10 inches or longer. Examples include Andrew Nicholson, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Dexter Pittman. The average hand length for a male is around 7.4 inches.

Hand span is measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky finger with your hand outstretched. Hand span is sometimes referred to as hand width or spread. It’s extremely rare for even an NBA player to have a hand span of 12 inches or wider. Gregory Smith and Giannis Antetokounmpo are a few who can boast of such measurements. The average male’s hand span is about 8.5 inches.

An individual’s span is almost always greater than his length. However, there are rare cases where the opposite is the case. Joseph Young of the Indiana Pacers strangely has a hand span of 7 inches, which is less than his hand length of 8.25 inches. NBA players like Anthony Davis, TJ McConnell, Markieff Morris, Harrison Barnes, and Alec Burks also have hand spans that are smaller than their hand lengths.

It’s also not uncommon for some players to have their spans and lengths be equal. NBA players like JaMychal Green, Al Farouq Aminu, Sean Kilpatrick, and Andre Drummond fall under this category.

The difference between these two measurements rarely exceeds two inches. Hassan Whiteside, Noah Vonleh, and Phil Pressey are few of the NBA players whose hand spans exceed their hand lengths by at least 2 inches.

Rajon Rondo is currently a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rajon Rondo is currently a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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15. Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is a true freak of nature and is one of the best point guards in the NBA. He has one of the craziest wingspans to height ratios in the history of the NBA. And that’s not the only remarkable thing about this elite player. At only 6’1”, Rondo’s hand length measures 9.5 inches and his hand span measures 10 inches.

Rajon's hands are the same length as 7'1" Wilt Chamberlain's. The average at his height is around 8.3 inches. It's amazing that Nikola Vucevic's hands are 2.2% shorter than Rondo's despite being almost a foot taller.

Rondo has the same span as 6'11" DeMarcus Cousins. Interestingly, his span is a whopping 17.6% wider than Anthony Davis' despite being nine inches shorter.

  • Hand size (Length/Span): 9.5”/10”
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Percent longer than the average player his height: 14%
  • Percent wider than the average player his height: 11%
  • Predicted height with this hand length: 7’5”
  • Predicted height with this hand span: 7’1"

Sport Science - Rajon Rondo

Jahlil Okafor is currently a center for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jahlil Okafor is currently a center for the New Orleans Pelicans.

14. Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor is one of the few people in the world who can hold 13 tennis balls in one hand. The average person can hold a maximum of six. He also stunned everyone when he held three apples in one hand for a draft photoshoot.

Okafor’s hand span measures 11.25 inches and so it’s not surprising that he can do some remarkable things with his hands. Unfortunately, there is no reliable data on his hand length but it is safe to assume it should be at least 9.5 inches. At 6’11", he has exceptionally big hands for his size. Nerlens Noel stands at the same height as Jahlil but his hand span is 12.5% narrower. Remarkably, Okafor has a wider hand span than 7’0" Steven Adams.

  • Hand size (Length/Span): Estimated to be 9.5”/11.25”
  • Height: 6’11”
  • Percent longer than the average player his height: 5%
  • Percent wider than the average player his height: 14%
  • Predicted height with this hand length: 7’5”
  • Predicted height with this hand span: 8’0"
Okafor holding his own against Boban Marjanovic.

Okafor holding his own against Boban Marjanovic.

The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, 11-time NBA All-Star, and a 10-time member of the All-NBA first team,  Elgin Baylor is regarded as one of the game's all-time greatest players.

The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, 11-time NBA All-Star, and a 10-time member of the All-NBA first team, Elgin Baylor is regarded as one of the game's all-time greatest players.

13. Elgin Baylor

Anyone can tell Elgin Baylor had huge hands from the way he handled the ball. Unfortunately, getting accurate measurements on his hand size has proven difficult. However, a comparison with the handprint of Michael Jordan shows that Baylor has roughly the same hand length.

MJ's thumb appears to stick out further for some added spread, giving him a slightly wider hand span than Baylor. It is therefore safe to say that Baylor's hand length is around 9.75 inches and his span is around 11 inches. This is really mind-blowing considering he stands at 6’5".

  • Hand size (Length/Span): Estimated to be 9.75”/11”
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Percent longer than the average player his height: 13%
  • Percent wider than the average player his height: 16%
  • Predicted height with this hand length: 7’9”
  • Predicted height with this hand span: 7’10"
The hand print of Michael Jordan (in red) and Elgin Baylor (in blue).

The hand print of Michael Jordan (in red) and Elgin Baylor (in blue).

Wayne Embry played in the NBA All-Star game for five consecutive seasons (1961–1965) and won the NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1968.

Wayne Embry played in the NBA All-Star game for five consecutive seasons (1961–1965) and won the NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1968.

12. Wayne Embry

This 6’8" gentle giant has a large set of mitts for his height. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find consistent data about his hand size. Embry’s hand span is believed to be 12 inches. His hand length measurement is unknown. Luckily, Embry volunteered to compare his hand with Noah Vonleh whose hand size we know with certainty and so we can use this to predict what his true hand measurements are.

Vonleh’s hands are at least 0.5 inches longer than Embry’s in length. Their spans are about the same. The hand length of Embry should therefore be about 9.25 inches and his span around 11.75 inches. Lebron James is the same height as Wayne Embry and his hands are nowhere near this size.

  • Hand size (Length/Span): Estimated to be 9.25”/11.75”
  • Height: 6’8”
  • Percent longer than the average player his height: 4%
  • Percent wider than the average player his height: 21%
  • Predicted height with this hand length: 7’1”
  • Predicted height with this hand span: 8’4"
Wayne Embry compares hands with Vonleh